Monarch butterfly on zinnia flowers
Since late last evening and early this morning we’ve been graced with the unexpected and very welcome sight of monarch butterflies drinking nectar at our zinnias.
Its been a crappy week here in DC, as the federal government’s shutdown has brought real hardship and frustration to so many of my hardworking neighbors. Its also been very hard to know that so many of the really tough environmental problems that could benefit from the important research being done by federal scientists have been put on hold, including things like Colony Collapse Disorder, the ecology of forest fires, and invasive exotic species control. I hope those in Congress get their act together soon.
Anyhow, it was wonderful to have something joyful to focus on for a few hours.
The first butterfly arrived just as the sun began to set last night. It stayed for a while, drank some nectar, and then headed off in a southern direction. Early this morning, two more arrived around 8am, again visiting the zinnias and again drinking. These two stayed for hours.
Like many people, I’ve been heartbroken to find almost no monarchs on my milkweed or along my flower tops this year; a sharp contrast to most years when we are a veritable monarch sanctuary and have dozens, literally dozens in the garden at a time. The experts tell us they are really suffering and their population numbers are dangerously low. (You can read a post I made earlier this year on the topic of monarchs here.)
I actually wondered if I’d ever see any ever again in my garden, especially after reading through the migration numbers on websites like Monarch Watch and Journey North.
I hope the butterflies who came to our plants are able to get enough needed food on the rest of their trip south to Mexico.
What a great way to end a terrible week!